Family Matters: To Friend or Not To Friend? That is the Question.
By Amy Gentry
As parents we may have to guide our children on how to “unfriend” someone. Not on Facebook (they could give us a lesson on that one), but here in the real world. Not every friend that your child makes is one your child should be “doing life” with. Not all school friends are afterschool friends.
Proverbs speaks much about friendship. Have your child ask themselves these questions:
· Do I feel pressured to act differently to hang with this friend?
Proverbs 12:26 “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
· Who’s the wisest of the bunch?
Proverbs 13:20 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
· Do they take life and the consequences of poor decisions seriously?
Proverbs 14:6-7 “A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding. Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.”
· Do I want to develop their same type of character?
Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
· What would Jesus do? Would He consider this person a bad influence?
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
What to do? Teach your children to be gracious in setting boundaries with friends. It’s not necessary to tell someone they are not in your circle of afterschool friends, thus hurting their feelings. I always tell my kids that they are welcome to blame me all they want to: tell the friend that “my mom doesn’t let me do anything during the week except for homework,” or “my parents have to get to know your parents first.” Let them down gracefully.
Take heart- true friendship is possible, Proverbs 17:17 “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”
GOING DEEPER: To take it a step further, mom, not all of your co-workers are after work friends. Or not all of your church friends are after church friends. Yikes!!!